2022 AFL Round 18: Western Bulldogs vs St.Kilda Preview & Betting Tips

With no more Thursday night games in the 2022 season, Round 18 of the AFL season kicks off on Friday night in a classic eight-point game between the Western Bulldogs (10th) and St.Kilda (9th) under the roof at Marvel Stadium. With both sides on the brink of the top eight, the winner will be back in the fray, while the loser can resign themselves to a wasted season.

We’re looking forward to a tough game, so read on for our Bulldogs vs Saints preview and AFL Round 18 Friday Night Betting Tips.

Western Bulldogs vs St.Kilda Betting Tips

Marvel Stadium, Friday July 15, 7:50 PM AEST

Western Bulldogs

Injuries: Hayden Crozier, Caleb Daniel, Taylor Duryea, Stefan Martin, Anthony Scott, Mitch Wallis

It was a disappointing week for the Bulldogs. When they take on fellow finalists in Brisbane and Sydney, they have done well both times. It not only puts a dent in their final aspirations, but also their percentage that could be important at the end of the season. If they can’t beat the Saints here, they’ll be two games and a percentage outside the top eight, and you should think that’s going to be too much to win in the final rounds of the season.

Better news: The Bulldogs welcome young shooter Bailey Smith back from suspension for a much-needed boost to a midfield that has struggled to fire lately. Key forward Josh Bruce also has a chance to return from injury after starting 4.5 in the VFL last week. He will provide a much needed physical presence forward and will free Aaron Naughton from the target field. It may also provide some support for Tim English, who was a little timid last week and needs to assert his authority in the middle.

Much of their run will depend on Bailey Dale being effectively knocked out of the game last week. With injuries to Crozier, Daniel and Duryea, it will be Dale who could be the key to their success.

St.Kilda

Injuries: Jack Bytel, Hunter Clark, Nick Coffield, Jarryn Geary, Dan Hannebery, Jack Hayes, Dougal Howard

The Saints had a great start to the season and looked set for action in September, but dropped four of their last five to now sit out of eight. They weren’t really close to Freo last week and will have to find some other gear here against the Bulldogs.

Daniel McKenzie may find his way back to the side from injury to do some running down the middle, but he’s not a match winner and will need to find some support. The Saints rely heavily on Jack Steele and Brad Crouch who have both been very good but they will need more of their next midfielders to compete with this highly talented Bulldogs midfielder.

The Saints should have a lead with their Twin Towers as Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall push Tim English into the middle, expanding the vulnerable Bulldogs defense as they rest forward. Max King is another that needs to find some form and play a big game with the Bulldogs struggling all season to keep power forwards in check.

Like the Dogs, the Saints will have to find a half-back run, with Brad Hill and Jack Sinclair crucial to their chances with Hunter Clark out due to injury.

Match Prediction

I think the Saints have been punching above their weight for most of the season but are now back to reality in the middle of the pack. In contrast, the Bulldogs were Grand Finalists last season and have largely underperformed for most of 2022. If they can start at the right time of year, who knows what might be possible. They have to make it to the final first and that starts here with a win in a do-or-die clash.

If the Dogs defense can hold King, Membrey and Marshall/Ryder, they’ll have the runners to win the midfield battle and put too much pressure on the Saints.

Western Bulldogs – 9.5

$2.00 (2.5 units)

Prop Bets

Both the Saints and the Dogs are quite loose in their own front half when it comes to granting cheap possession to opposing defenders. Their two main playmakers are Bailey Dale and Jack Sinclair, and as long as they don’t get a tag they should both be able to accumulate freely. We could take the divestment markets, but there’s a little more value in the fantasy markets.

Bailey Dale + Jack Sinclair 90+ AFL Fantasy Points – $2.01 at Ladbrokes

The Bulldogs have struggled all season to contain the opposition’s main attackers. Their defenses are bad and they just don’t have anyone to stop these power forwards once they get going. One option for the Saints is Max King, the obvious main target, but he’s been struggling a bit for form lately and his bet price isn’t all that much value. Rowan Marshall or Paddy Ryder to float forward and hit the scoreboard is another option. But instead we go with Tim Membrey, who is hard to stop at the best of times. He’ll hit the ground, but if he works back to the targets, he should be able to hit the scoreboard. It’s a favorable game and Membrey has kicked at least two goals in one game eight times this season.

Tim Membrey 2+ Goals – $1.85 at Ladbrokes